Drive-in sex booths may be installed at Berlin's former airport

In 2008, Berlin's historic Tempelhof airport was converted into a public park. Now, Stephan von Dassel, mayor of the city's central Mitte district, is proposing the installation of drive-in sex booths where sex workers can service clients in their vehicles. Resembling rows of car ports, they are called verrichtungsboxen and can be found in Bonn (above), Utrecht, Amsterdam, and other European cities. From CNN:

Stephan von Dassel, the mayor who represents the Green party, is attempting to combat prostitution on Kurfürstenstrasse, an upmarket street in Mitte with a history of sex workers.

"Residents and businesses have been calling for a ban on street prostitution for many years," he wrote in a statement. Yet he notes that the Berlin Senate has refused to implement regulatory restrictions "because it fears a deterioration of the overall situation."

He is now proposing a restriction on street prostitution in the district, instead offering sex workers booths in controlled areas in a bid, he says, to improve the lives of "residents and sex workers" alike...

Dassel argues that the current situation for the sex workers on Kurfürstenstrasse is "inhumane," and by refusing to act, the state of Berlin is tolerating "forced prostitution, violence against women and drug addiction."

image: "Verrichtungsboxen" in Bonn, Germany (Leonce49, CC BY 3.0) Read the rest

Alleged human sex trafficker gave thousands to Trump campaign and hung out with Don Jr. at Mar-a-Lago

📸 Li Yang, aka Cindy Yang, 45, with Donald Trump at the Super Bowl, rooting for the Patriots. Just 2 weeks later, authorities charged team owner Robert Kraft with soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter, Florida that was founded by Yang.

The Miami Herald headline reads, “Trump cheered Patriots to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where Kraft was busted,” but the alterate headline suggested by @joshrogin gets straight to the point: “Alleged human trafficker gave thousands to Trump campaign and hung out with Don Jr. at Mar-a-Lago.” Read the rest

Oakland, CA launches ‘See Something, Say Something’ sex work snitch website

On Saturday, the city of Oakland, California will launch a website where authorities can collect reports of people who patronize sex workers. The reportjohn.org snitch site created by city officials is an odd development in a town plagued by sex abuse scandals within its own law enforcement ranks. It will be interesting also to see what sort of security or privacy measures the site offers to those who use it to submit photos, names, license plates, or other sensitive information to authorities. At the time of this blog post, reportjohn.org is not yet online. Read the rest

Judge gives free pass to elderly man who solicited prostitute

Howard Arthur Klein, 87, was nabbed in Grand rapids, Michigan for soliciting a prostitute. Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth decided not to pursue the matter, saying, "He wouldn't and shouldn't go to jail and 87 years without involvement in the criminal justice system has, in my opinion, earned him a pass." Read the rest

Diary of a Sex Tourist, a photo essay

Over at Vantage, Peter Schafer's beautiful and moving photo essay, "Diary of a Sex Tourist," pegged on Amnesty International's vote in the next few days on whether or not the group will advocate for the decriminalization of sex work. Read the rest

Hawaii cops fake being groped to accuse massage parlor workers of sexual assault

Honolulu police were saddened to learn that when one of their undercover officers grabs a woman's hand and places it on his penis, the woman is not guilty of sexual assault. Yesterday, a Honolulu prosecutor dismissed charges against 16 women arrested in a massage parlor sting because there was not enough evidence to establish that they committed sexual assault against the officers.

From Raw Story:

Myles Breiner, an attorney representing some of the women, said in at least one instance at a massage parlor called Orchid Relaxation, an officer disrobed, took the woman's hand and put it on his genitals.

"They're experimenting with the limits of the constitution," Breiner said after hearing that the charges were dropped. "Sex assault in the fourth degree is a nonconsensual touching of a sexual nature. How can you say it's not consensual when the officers are going into these establishments intending to be touched?"

Image of Orchid Relaxation: Google Street view. Take a walk around the neighborhood! Read the rest

Photo-essay: a day in the life of a Danish sex worker

An amazing and award-winning photo essay by Marie Hald of the Danish School of Journalism on Bonnie, a sex worker in Denmark.

Bonnie Cleo Andersen has been a prostitute since the age of 18. Her first time having sex for money was at a visit at a brothel in a small town. Bonnie and her girlfriend were in need of money and wanted to try it out. The experience was unpleasant and Bonnie was shy and ashamed of her body. But because of the money, she stayed in the sex industry.

(College Photographer of the Year via @BWJones) Read the rest

The child brothels of Bangladesh (and an odd link with cattle and chemotherapy)

Hashi, a 17-year-old sex worker, embraces "husband" (known as a "Babu") inside her small room at the Kandapara brothel in Tangail, a northeastern city of Bangladesh.

Many young and inexperienced prostitutes have "lovers" or "husbands" who normally live outside the brothel occasionally taking money and sex from them in exchange for security in this male dominated society. She earns about 800-1000 taka daily ($9.75 - $12.19) servicing around 15-20 customers every day. Hashi is one of hundreds of mostly teenage sex workers living in a painful life of exploitation in Kandapara slum's brothel who take Oradexon, a steroid used by farmers to fatten their cattle, in order to gain weight and appear "healthier" and more attractive to clients. Picture taken March 4, 2012.

Here's a longer Reuters story about the plight of young prostitutes in Bangladesh, and the phenomenon of using this drug to enhance sex appeal.

The news item is a few weeks old, but I stumbled on it today while researching the origin and side effects of a steroid my oncologist is giving me during chemotherapy. Surprise: It's the same drug. I never knew breast cancer patients had so much in common with cattle and Bangladeshi child sex workers.

(REUTERS/Andrew Biraj) Read the rest

Hostess life: "What I learned by being a migrant sex worker in Japan"

Bloomberg News has published a two-part, first-person investigative piece by Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, on the lives of Filipina sex workers in Tokyo, Japan. To study the living and working conditions of these "hostess bar" migrant laborers, Parrenas became one.

The Bloomberg pieces are excerpts from her new book “Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo,” released this week by Stanford University Press.

Here is part 1. And here is part 2.

The Bloomberg excerpts are fascinating, as is the book, for providing an unusual glimpse inside a world most of us will never witness first-hand. Read the rest